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May 11, 2016: Grove Ethics: The EU Referendum - How Should We Decide?

Andrew Goddard's Grove Ethics booklet is a rare beast in the vast array of publications on the EU Referendum in that his own opinions are not clearly in view. He presents a fair case for both sides, and concludes with a plea that the decision is made not out of fear, but out of a considered view of principles, costs and benefits, and that Christians on both sides of the debate model good practice in how they debate. 

The earlier chapters provide the information for doing this, including the historical background to the EU and its aims (peace, solidarity with others, improved economic life) and the rather mixed interaction the UK and its political parties have had with it.

He also outlines Christian notions of what political authority is for and how it should operate: many have cited the anti-Empire and anti-idolatry language of Revelation in their opposition to the EU, but Christian theology calls for solidarity across borders and opposition to the "we are better than them" thought that can lie between more extreme notions of the nation state. 

Similarly he tackles the complicated current issue of migration: does the EU force us to favour its migrants over those from elsewhere, and is the idea of freedom of movement just labelling people as abstract economic units? Perhaps we ought to be encouraging people to see and develop the worth of their current abode instead.

 

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